Croatian-American Bill Belichick Named Highest-Paid Head Sports Coach in US

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

HRT Screenshot
HRT Screenshot

Bill Belichick, the NFL strategist for the New England Patriots, has the highest salary among all head coaches in American sports, reveals Sportico.

Belichick, a 69-year-old of Croatian descent, has an annual salary of $18 million, and he also performs the duty of general manager at the Boston club. Belichick has been in New England since 2000 and is rightly known as the best NFL coach of all time for winning six Super Bowl titles.

American football coaches dominate this competition. Second place is shared by New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Ried, all bringing in $12 million a year.

The top five is closed by the highest-paid coach in the NBA league, Gregg Popovich ($11.5 million) of the San Antonio Spurs, who also serves as the coach of the USA basketball team.

Of the NBA coaches, only Steve Kerr ($9.5 million) of Golden State Warriors is in the top 10. 

Considered one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, Belichick has never been shy about speaking of his Croatian heritage. His grandfather, Ivan Biličić, and grandmother, Marija Barković, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1897 from Draganić.

In the HRT documentary series “Opstanak” in January 2020, Belichick recalled Croatian being spoken in his grandparents’ house and between his father and mother, who quickly picked it up. 

“My grandfather Ivan and grandmother Marija, who changed her name to Mary on arrival to the US, left Draganić for America. They settled in Monessen near Pittsburgh. Grandfather never completed school but spoke six languages. He was a gardener and butcher and put food on the table for my father, another three sons, and a daughter. He always spoke of Croatia, but as a boy, I wasn’t too interested,” recalled Belichick.

Unlike Bill, his father was closely tied to the homeland. Still, he changed their last name from Biličić to Belichick.

“Father was very close to the Croatian community in Pennsylvania. His first cousin visited the villages we came from many times. When he married my mother in the Immigrant Centre, they suggested changing his name to Belichick, which he did. I am very proud of our Croatian history. I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful land and am proud of my heritage.”

Belichick even revealed that his son Stephen has a Croatian tattoo on his arm.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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